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Review: The Day After, 'The Year'


The Day After, 'The Year' - SUBMITTED PHOTO

The Day After
The Year

The key to successfully blending metalcore and pop punk comes from knowing where to draw the line. It doesn't matter how heavy the breakdown is if it doesn't fit well with the rest of the song. The popular genre of music, inspired by bands like A Day To Remember, that unites these two elements together usually finds the breakdown being used as a crutch to make up for weak songwriting in the other parts of the song. Indianapolis band The Day After haven't quite mastered this just yet, but their new EP The Year proves they're definitely on the right track.

On The Year, The Day After focuses more on melodies and musicianship to create solid songwriting that makes the metalcore aspect of the genre secondary, as it should be. The pop punk side of things tends to lead a little more to the metal side, like a not-so-progressive Coheed and Cambria. The opening title track promises "the best is yet to come" in a song about coming out the other side of darker times a better person, a running theme throughout the album.

"I'm Not Paranoid, All My Fears Are Real" finds solace in friendship, ending with triumphant gang vocals (the first of several great gang vocal moments tailor-made for stage rushes at shows) declaring "I keep my friends close. How could this be more obvious?" before transitioning to the explosive opening of "This Is Where I Belong."

The Day After has been putting in time in the Indianapolis music scene since 2008, and the influences and tributes to it appear throughout the album, especially in "This Is Where I Belong."

"Broken Hearts and Second Chances," a song about watching a friend go through the hard consequences of some terrible decisions, has been a staple of TDA's live setlist and one of the oldest songs in their arsenal appearing on the album.

"Second Guess Myself" is the only song that doesn't shine as well. While it has a decent payoff by the end, everything leading up to it is a little disjointed, and just doesn't feel as solid as the rest of the album, but it's only a minor bump in the road to The Year's grand closing finisher, "The Good Life..." Guest appearances from band friends Steve Hendrickson of local metalcore group We Came From Nowhere and Mitch Vice of Indy pop punk favorites It's All Happening lend credence to the song's message of the importance of friends who will "never give up on you, even when it's on the line." The EP's coda "... Time Well Wasted" triumphantly proclaims "This is gonna be the year," putting a hopeful punctuation on the theme set up earlier in the record with epic instrumentation and choruses.

In an interview, TDA front man and writer Kevin Kirk spoke of the album fondly, saying "the scene and our friends have been so incredibly important, because I reached the epiphany that no matter how hard you try, you can never do some things alone. Be it trusting in your friends, your band or even the listener, you WILL need help." The Day After's The Year will be a fitting love letter to the scene that helped shape and define them over the last three years.

Listen to the title single from 'The Year'.


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